A Toronto vegan blabs on about crafting, food, and her life in general.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

C is for Cuckoo

I just heard that Sesame Street classic shows are being released on DVD!!

*cue frantic dancing*

I also heard that the discs come with a warning label. That's right - classic Sesame Street has been deemed as unsuitable for some of today's children. I found this in the New York Times website:

Sunny days! The earliest episodes of “Sesame Street” are available on digital video! Break out some Keebler products, fire up the DVD player and prepare for the exquisite pleasure-pain of top-shelf nostalgia.

Just don’t bring the children. According to an earnest warning on Volumes 1 and 2, “Sesame Street: Old School” is adults-only: “These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child.”

Say what? At a recent all-ages home screening, a hush fell over the room. “What did they do to us?” asked one Gen-X mother of two, finally. The show rolled, and the sweet trauma came flooding back. What they did to us was hard-core. Man, was that scene rough. The masonry on the dingy brownstone at 123 Sesame Street, where the closeted Ernie and Bert shared a dismal basement apartment, was deteriorating. Cookie Monster was on a fast track to diabetes. Oscar’s depression was untreated. Prozacky Elmo didn’t exist.

Nothing in the children’s entertainment of today, candy-colored animation hopped up on computer tricks, can prepare young or old for this frightening glimpse of simpler times. Back then — as on the very first episode, which aired on PBS Nov. 10, 1969 — a pretty, lonely girl like Sally might find herself befriended by an older male stranger who held her hand and took her home. Granted, Gordon just wanted Sally to meet his wife and have some milk and cookies, but . . . well, he could have wanted anything. As it was, he fed her milk and cookies. The milk looks dangerously whole.

read the whole story here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The organisation I volunteer for is having their AGM this Thursday. And I've been asked to do an interview about my volunteer experience for the AGM, which will also be recorded for the weekly podcast. Yikes. Luckily, I have a copy of the potential questions:

a. What are your volunteer roles?
b. Why did you first get involved?
c. What keeps you engaged?
d. What would you say to someone who's thinking of volunteering?
e. What's your most inspirational volunteer experience?

If anyone has some advice, by all means, pass it along. I is nervous.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Veganomicon, page 133

Chickpea Cutlets.

Make 'em. Now.

Chickpea cutlets, mashed garlicky potatoes and mushroom gravy

Chickpea Cutlets


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Concerts in memory lane

Last night, a friend and I were talking about My Bloody Valentine recording a new album. I hadn't heard, and the news was really exciting. I mentioned seeing My Bloody Valentine in concert quite a few years ago and I couldn't remember the exact date - 1991? 1992? Of course this friend reminded me that he was born in 1982, which made me feel very old.

I used to keep all my concert ticket stubs, but I rarely do anymore. I have a stack of stubs from concerts I went to in the 80s and early 90s, stashed away in a baggie for safe keeping. Today I pulled them out and reminisced about some of my favourites – one of which was the My Bloody Valentine show (it was 1992).

My Bloody Valentine – 1992

Another one, also from 1992 was The Sugarcubes (coincidentally, Water from Here Today, Tomorrow, Next Week just started playing in my iTunes playlist. Spooky). I'd been wanting to see them for years, and finally they were coming back. My mother was pregnant with my little sister (at the time, I referred to the future baby as "The Sib") and the day they were set to play was also around my mother's due date. Björk and another band member were interviewing at the local radio station, so we skipped school to meet them (!!) but travelling into downtown Toronto from the suburbs by way of public transit for the concert meant I'd be away from her for hours – but I couldn't miss the show! So, I called every couple of hours to check in. Thankfully, my sister decided to not be birthed that evening and I was able to enjoy the concert – we even met another band member at the show (see the autograph: "To Michelle in Toronto. I'm Einar").

The Sugarcubes – 1992

One of the earlier shows I went to was also one of the most memorable ones. I was 15 when I saw The Jesus and Mary Chain in 1987 and it was possibly the first show I'd been to that had a mosh pit. I even just found a Wikipedia entry about the show, and what helped make it so memorable:
The band's dangerous reputation culminated at a gig at the RPM club in Toronto in November 1987, when Jim Reid allegedly hit two fans with a microphone stand for spitting on him. Jim was arrested and spent a night in jail. He was subsequently given absolute discharge after agreeing to give £500 to charity.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – 1987

And this last stub is from one of the many Skinny Puppy shows I saw in the 80s. What made this one so memorable was the show's theme of animal rights. I'd just started getting more involved in animal rights and, at the show, the band played vivisection videos on the screen behind them. Again, another Wiki entry:

Over time, the band became outspoken advocates for animal rights, and used the Head Trauma tour (Europe, 1988) and VIVIsectVI tour (North America, 1988) to draw attention to the issue. The title of the album VIVIsectVI (1988) was a pun intended to associate vivisection with Satanism (ie. the "666 sect").[8] The album's lyrics dealt with criticism of pollution, chemical warfare, deforestation, rape, cocaine addiction, and the promotion of sexual abstinence to stop the spread of AIDS/HIV. Lead track "Dogshit" was released as a single in 1988 under the name "Censor", while the single "Testure", which denounced the vivisection of animals for research purposes, reached #19 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in 1989.[10] A music video was produced for "Testure", featuring footage of a man being tortured by monstrous-looking surgeons, augmented with clips from The Plague Dogs and Unnecessary Fuss, and included a statement denouncing vivisection. Key and Ogre were arrested for "disorderly conduct" at a 1988 concert in Cincinnati, Ohio after an audience member, believing the stuffed animal Ogre was "vivisecting" to be a real dog, called the police.

Skinny Puppy – 1988

So, although my friend telling me that he was only 10 years old when I was already a concert going veteran made me feel extremely old, it also prompted this reminiscing, which made me feel really good. Almost as good as when I found this little note on my desk this afternoon:


Friday, November 16, 2007


I got packages today! But I'm going out and will post about them tomorrow! Yay!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Nablopomo cop out

I've been extremely busy at work, and for the past few days I've been setting up a document for a volunteer job, and I've had a meeting and classes. Very little energy to blog tonight, so instead I present to you one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. If you have a cat companion, you will be able to relate. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silver Pendant

Last week in my jewellery class at Nanopod, I formed a wax version of a pendant to cast in sterling silver using the lost wax technique. I made several sketches of various designs, and chose one to go with, making minor adjustments. It turned out well and I spent tonight's class filing and sanding and polishing my brand new pendant. It's a good thing that the casting company is a little inconvenient to get to, or else I would have a new obsession on my hands.

From design to completion

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Papa Pigeon

I shot these of the elusive papa pigeon on Day 43. He'd recently been arriving each morning to feed the babies. Now, I only ever see the papa – momma hasn't been around for while :(



Monday, November 12, 2007

Tagged, just in time!

As I was working away on formatting the text of a 25 page document (not my favourite thing to do after an already long day) I remembered my Nablopomo pledge. I've got very little to say today, so I decided to check my Bloglines subscriptions while I though of a decent post, and I discovered I'd been tagged! Hooray! Something quick and easy to write about!

Stegan tagged me for a random quote. You're supposed to go to page 161 of the book you're currently reading and type out the 5th sentence. If you've only trudged through the introduction, does that count as a book you're currently reading? Well, since I assume cookbooks don't count, I'm posting from Orson Scott Card's Speaker For the Dead. I am not a reader of science fiction, but I was encouraged to pick up Ender's Game a few months ago, and I enjoyed it. As a surprise, the boy recently came home with book #2, though I haven't had much time to devote to reading lately.

So, page 161, 5th sentence: "Beware, then, or the Lord of the Harvest will burn you with the tares." At first, I thought the instructions were for the 5th line which, in my book, would have been simply "weeds". :)

I'm going to ruin the fun and not tag anyone. If someone wants to participate, please do and let me know when you've posted.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chickpea Noodle Soup à la Veganomicon

Chickpea Noodle Soup

Tonight, looking for something different to have for dinner fortheloveofgod, I decided to try a sample recipe from the latest vegan cookbook that seems to have all the vegans in a tizzy, Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. I have a copy of Isa's Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock and, of course, Isa's and Terry's Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes that Rule (come off it with the long titles already!) but I have to admit that I tend to just flip through them rather than actually trying out recipes, as I do with almost all my cookbooks.

At this point, I need to ask – is it just a vegan/vegetarian thing to collect cookbooks? Do omnivores collect cookbooks the way we do? I mean, most vegans I know have a ridiculous amount of cookbooks. We buy them the way others buy bestsellers.

Anyhoo, I was browsing the internet for some ideas for meals, and noticed a recipe for Chickpea Noodle Soup on The PPK website – a sample recipe from Veganomicon. Since my copy of the cookbook was hastily ordered just last night from Chapters.ca, I have to wait to browse the full list of recipes until later this week *fingers crossed*

Not being one to follow directions, any recipe I do try is usually tweaked quite a bit. This one I tweaked just a little – added broccoli, included an extra clove of garlic, subbed soba noodles with whole wheat fettuccine, and used a poultry seasoning blend instead of the individual herbs listed. This is also officially my third time cooking with miso and the first time I actually enjoyed it. The soup was warm and comforting, filling and satisfying. There was just the right amount of saltiness and the miso was a very light flavour. I was worried that I used too many mushrooms, but they were not overpowering in the least. If this recipe is any indication of the rest of the recipes in the book, I may just join the frenzied vegans in pimping Veganomicon. I just can't wait to try the highly touted Chickpea Cutlets. Mmmm...


Saturday, November 10, 2007

That time.

In my teens, I used to get awful cramps. I was on the Pill for a while – not as a treatment for cramps, but it helped. Then I read about the estrogen in the pill being collected from the urine of pregnant horses, like it is for Premarin, and I stopped taking it. Little did I know that the Pill, by that time, was being made with synthetic estrogen. So I suffered with cramps. Sometimes they were so bad that I would often spend at least half a day once a month in the nurse's office, curled up into a little ball on a cot.

I realised a few years later that the Pill wasn't made with horses urine and I started taking it again. My periods were a breeze back then – three days, if that. Barely there. And the cramps were very low. This lasted into my late 20s, when I stopped taking it again. I was in a relationship with a woman, and it was silly to put those hormones into my body. I have been off the Pill ever since. And my periods are back to normal. Which is to say they are heavy and painful.

This month has been especially bad. Not just the period, but the PMS. Yesterday, the day before it started, was filled with a severe mix of emotions: sadness, anger, despair and frustration. I felt like I was on some sort of drug – my body was tingly, in a bad way, and I couldn't concentrate. Everything was overwhelming. And all of today has been spent very painfully aware of the heavy dull groan between my hip bones, waiting for the acetaminophen to kick in.

I don't keep a journal of my cycles, other than to track my period on MyMonthlyCycles.com. But after this month, it is sounding like a good idea. There must be a reason why this month has been worse . I know my eating habits have been less healthy – less fresh greens, less water, more salt, more processed carbs – and I have a feeling that is the biggest culprit. That, and the stress from work, which has increased considerably over the past few weeks. Keeping a journal of my food intake, water intake and stress levels might not only help show which affects my cycle more, but also encourage me to make changes for my overall health.

I collected a few things from around the interwebs that may help in reducing or preventing painful periods:

  • Zinc, calcium, and B vitamins obtained in food and supplements have been found to reduce cramps, bloating and other symptoms.
  • Eating a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoiding junk foods and high-fat foods.
  • Getting extra omega-3 fatty acids
  • Reducing your salt intake.
  • Limiting caffeine, sugar and alcohol. (Though I have also read that caffeine may help when you have cramps, like it can when you have a headache)
  • Change your diet slightly if you can, a week prior to menstruation to avoid menstrual cramping; avoid foods that could cause bloating such as salty foods and alcohol, avoid foods such as dairy that could contribute to menstrual cramps.
  • Try spot treatments. Heat or cold packs can be a spot on treatment for menstrual cramps, laying down with a pack around your stomach area. A warm bath can also provide heat that eases the pain of menstrual cramps as well as highly relaxing.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables and is low in fat.
  • Begin or maintain a moderate exercise schedule. Try to work up to at least 30 minutes, 4 to 5 times each week. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
  • Reduce stress in your life. Although stress does not cause menstrual cramps, reducing stress can make your symptoms less severe.
  • Do not smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • Try biofeedback or yoga. Both therapies teach relaxation skills.
  • Try acupuncture or acupressure.
  • Taking an extra 500 to 1,000 milligrams of supplemental calcium a day
  • Taking vitamin B6 as part of a B-complex supplement that contains no more than 200 to 300 milligrams of B6
  • Regular exercise (especially walking).
  • A heating pad applied to the abdominal area may relieve the pain and congestion.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Too busy to blog. Watching Weeds Season 3.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I pledge...

See that little button in the sidebar? The one that says "I took the handmade pledge"? This Christmas, I plan to do just that – maybe not for all the gifts I give, but as much as I possibly can. Why? Well, to borrow some text from Handmade.org:

Buying handmade is better for people, better for the environment, and better for giving truly special and well-crafted gifts. The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us all dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. Buying handmade helps them reconnect.

We encourage all consumers to be aware of the social and environmental implications of their purchases.

Take a look over here, and maybe take the pledge yourself!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Born on a pirate ship.

My birdies. They be messy.

Born on a pirate ship ~ Day 41 ~

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The earliest holiday card ever

The earliest holiday card ever

I got this in the mail late last week from Medic Alert. I was shocked and amused when I opened the envelope. But considering the way the weather has been today, I guess it is appropriate enough. We didn't receive any snow, but man is it cold. I headed out to go to the gym, walked down the street for 5 minutes in the blustery cold rain, and turned right around.

I think I'll eat some chocolate mousse instead. And knit.

Monday, November 5, 2007

To the jerk who stole my sister's iPod.

Maybe you don't know my sister. Maybe you don't know that she comes from a family that doesn't have lots of money, and was raised to really appreciate the things she has. You probably don't know how much I adore her and that seeing her smile as she opened her birthday gift this year warmed my heart for days. You certainly don't know how upset you have made her. Or at least you don't care. I don't know why you think you deserve my sister's iPod more than she does. Maybe you think she is just one of those kids who can easily get a new one. You've proven that you don't deserve it. And I hope when you get older and more cognizant of your actions, that you feel badly about what you've done, you little jerk.

Thumbs up on the hot pink

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend of Stuff

Anyone who knows me pretty much knows that I have pack-rat issues. And anyone who has visited my home knows that I do not need more stuff. But this weekend, stuff I got. And stuff I off-loaded. And I made pretty important decision about Christmas stuff.

Friday night was spent at a fund raiser for a local animal rights group called ARK II. As one of the first 50 people to arrive, we were given goody bags! My favourite item was the cookie from local vegan bakery, Sweets From the Earth. Damn fine cookies.

ARKII goodie bag

And I won a hat in the raffle. I'm not a baseball hat wearer, so I'm passing it along to a friend :)


Saturday was mostly spent doing some overtime work. But during a break, we went out for lunch and I picked up a brand new iPod. A Shuffle. My iPod Mini, although minier than the standard huge iPod, is still awkward to work out with. The Shuffle is teensy and clips to your clothing – perfect for the gym, where I have been spending as much time as I can lately.


I also picked a carpal tunnel brace for my left arm (already have one for the right one). No photo, because it's not very interesting.

Today, Sunday, a friend hosted a Clothing Swap/potluck brunch (my contribution: scrambled tofu). For those unfamiliar, a Clothing Swap is where several people get together, bring all their clothes and/or shoes and accessories that they no longer wear, put them into organised piles, and everyone gets the chance to pick through the piles and choose things they like. Of course there are rules to determine who gets what if two or more people want the same piece of clothing, but the rules can vary. I brought several pieces that I've been holding on to and almost every item got taken. Yay! At the end, all the clothes that are left over get donated to charity. I believe the huge pile that accumulated today is going to The Scott Mission, as they're holding a drive in my friend's building this week.

My loot, minus a great pair of short pants is below – two very colourful skirts and a great cowl neck tunic style top made by a friend. No black. The boy will be happy.


The other things I came home with were brunch leftovers :) In my fridge are a few containers of various things – vegan banana bread, cheesy pinwheels for the boy, vegan chocolate cupcakes (sadly, a bit squished), vegan chocolate mousse and breakfast potatoes which are no longer in the fridge but now in my tummy. It wasn't a vegan event, but there were 4 of us freaks in a group of 9, so the food was very vegan friendly.

So, even though there was a lot of stuff coming into my life this weekend, it was fairly small and useful stuff. Plus, I gave away a suitcase of clothes that I no longer wear. And today, I decided to make this Christmas a more eco-friendly one. My mom, sister and I are saving up for a trip to Mexico in the new year so we are foregoing the usual gift-giving in favour of a smaller stocking stuffer exchange. My plan is to include as much locally made, hand made and environmentally conscious stuff as possible. I've already started knitting a sample of one of the items I will be including in my mom's stocking. She reads my blog, so I won't give away what it is (sorry, mom!) but I hope it will be very useful. And it's not a scarf or anything you wear. The one in the photo is for me, since I want to make sure it turns out before I make any gift-bound ones. If it does work out, I'm going to make a couple for every one of my friends :)


Saturday, November 3, 2007

I'm really waiting until tomorrow to do a much larger post, which will probably be photo heavy anyway. Until then, I'll leave you with something hilarious and bizarre I saw on a sign outside a church in my neighbourhood today:

Remember that part about
"love your neighbour"?
I meant it.
- God

Friday, November 2, 2007

From Egg to Squab

Of course, the big excitement around here has been the baby Rock Pigeons on our balcony. It is just so incredible to witness how, in just 36 days, these little guys have grown from egg to almost full fledged adults.

From egg to squab


Thursday, November 1, 2007


boy, looking at the just purchased can of garbanzos: I'm offended by the word "chickpeas"
me: yeah?
boy: yeah. Why can't they be "dudepeas?"

Yes folks, this is my first entry for NaBloPoMo. Sad, but true.